Ohio State Establishes Research Center for Advanced Manufacturing

Potential NSF investment of $52 million over 10 years funds convergent research, workforce development.

News about funding for an advanced manufacturing research center.

The Ohio State University will lead a multi-institutional engineering research center to develop and deploy revolutionary, intelligent autonomous manufacturing systems and educate a future manufacturing workforce. The center will create approaches central to next-generation manufacturing to create jobs, train a diverse workforce and ease supply chain issues by growing a new American industry.

The National Science Foundation announced funding for the Hybrid Autonomous Manufacturing, Moving from Evolution to Revolution (HAMMER) Engineering Research Center, for five years at $26 million with the ability to renew for another $26 million for an additional five years. If fully realized, it will be one of the largest research investments in the last decade for Ohio State.

Ohio State will partner with Case Western Reserve University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Northwestern University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville along with more than 70 industry, educational and technical organization collaborators to develop and implement new manufacturing technologies for agile, high-performance and high-quality components.

Glenn Daehn, the Mars G. Fontana Professor of Metallurgical Engineering, will serve as the director of the center.

Through basic, applied and translational research, HAMMER will accelerate the development and deployment of intelligent autonomous manufacturing systems that will use multiple processes to control material properties and component dimensions to allow rapid customization. These systems will learn from each operation, improving themselves over time.

In addition to the collaboration with the four partner universities, HAMMER will include convergent research across colleges at Ohio State. The College of Arts and Sciences, College of Medicine and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs join the College of Engineering in supporting the new engineering research center.

The NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) program supports convergent research, education and technology translation at U.S. universities to lead to strong societal impacts.

Each ERC has interacting foundational components that go beyond the research project, including engineering workforce development at all stages, a culture of diversity and inclusion where all participants gain mutual benefit and value creation within an innovation ecosystem that will outlast the lifetime of the ERC.

Since the program’s start in 1985, NSF has funded 75 ERCs throughout the United States. NSF supports each center for up to 10 years. This investment has led to many successes, including:

  • More than 240 spinoff companies
  • More than 900 patents
  • More than 14,400 total bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees to ERC students
  • Numerous research outcomes enabling new technologies

NI Corporate Impact Report

The first NI Week in Austin, TX I attended was 1998. I hit every year until maybe 2015. The clear vision of leadership around building a company with solid ethics and focus on having a positive impact on the world impressed me from the very beginning.

The company has grown from that startup scrappiness I first witnessed to the corporation it is today, yet the vision persists through the third generation of leaders.

Recently I interviewed Tabitha Upshaw, senior director of Brand, Reputation and Impact to learn more about the results reported in the 2021 Corporate Impact report just announced about a month ago. She emphasized the Three Pillars of the program: Changing the Faces of Engineering, Building an Equitable and Thriving Society, and Engineering a Healthy Planet. These were created to reflect where the company can have the greatest influence and impact as a test and measurement engineering leader.

Some of the results noted in the report include:

  • The launch of a rigorous grant-making process with $2.7 million in grants to nine nonprofit partners who are advancing diversity in STEM education, including the Girls in Engineering and Technology program in Malaysia and the Women at Tech program in Hungary.
  • Improved equity in base pay across NI, with ratios of 99% for women to men (global), 101% for people of color to white (U.S.), 100% for Black to white (U.S.) and 101% for Latinx to white (U.S.).
  • 35.5% of electricity sourced from renewables, plus 113,542 square feet of new buildings and remodels designed to LEED/WELL standards.

A particular point of pride according to Upshaw came from tracking pay equity goals and reporting that the company was beating these goals handily.

The company has placed dollars, executive time, and other emphases on STEM education at all levels of schooling as long as I’ve known it.

The report also puts forth a new goal: By 2030, NI will become a climate-neutral company with an ongoing commitment to protecting biodiversity. The company’s ambition is to operate in a way that produces no net greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1 and 2).

“We are living through a period of rapid evolution. We see it with our customers who are accelerating the digital transformation of our world, and we see it in our society and across our planet,” said Eric Starkloff, CEO of NI. “Our 2030 Corporate Impact Strategy reflects our desire to be a driver of positive change.”

One of NI’s key drivers of positive transformation in 2021 was its announcement of $2.7 million in grants to STEM education initiatives that advance diversity in STEM education globally. The company formed nine new partnerships with nonprofits to bring hands-on programs and mentoring to girls and women, people of color and economically disadvantaged populations.

“We’ve had to put in extra effort to keep Corporate Impact top of mind in the face of macro challenges such as the pandemic, supply chain disruption, and our transformation as a company,” concluded Upshaw. “And I’m so proud of what we’ve worked together across the company to achieve this year.”

Bionics and Robotics Training For Youth

Festo branches into many interesting endeavors. I’ve visited the company’s headquarters, a few customers including an Audi plant in Hungary, and the Cincinnati, Ohio area training facility. This news touches on a hot topic crucial to manufacturing success–training and education. Festo Didactic develops training courses and conducts classes. Here are two pieces of news. One from Ohio regarding a pre-apprenticeship program in a couple of schools. The second from Wisconsin concerning an award.

Warren County and Clermont County Schools Kickoff Manufacturing Pre-Apprenticeship Program

Students from Kings High School and Goshen High School get on-the-job training in advanced manufacturing from Festo Didactic, made possible by funding from Easterseals and the State. A group of 14 high school seniors in southwestern Ohio have become the first beneficiaries of a workforce development grant to fund a newly formed pre-apprenticeship program focused on modern day manufacturing.

The grant was awarded to Easterseals, a Cincinnati-based nonprofit organization focused on improving workforce equity, inclusion and access. 

Kings High School in Warren County and Goshen High School in Clermont County are the first high schools in the state to participate in the pre-apprenticeship program in collaboration with Festo Didactic, a global leader in industrial and technical education.

“The Area 12 HUB (Butler, Clermont, Warren counties and Easterseals) partnered with Festo because they have an exceptional model for their manufacturing pre-apprenticeship program,” said Jessica Dean, Manager, Youth Services Community Operations at Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinnati. “In this program, there’s a strong commitment to help youth become successful. For students to have access to high quality STEM education and hands-on training like this, it opens up a world of possibilities.”

According to apprenticeship.gov, by definition, pre-apprenticeship is a program or set of strategies designed to prepare individuals to enter and succeed in a Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP). Pre-apprenticeship programs help employers save time and money by providing pre-screened, ready-to-work employees who have been trained in the specific skills employers need. U.S. Department of Labor case studies have shown that pre-apprenticeship programs can attract more diverse candidates, including women and people of color, and increase employment of disabled workers.

Specifically, Festo’s pre-apprenticeship is designed to introduce students to modern day smart manufacturing. The program prioritizes hands-on, experiential learning that exposes students to the wonders of bionics and robotics in addition to beginner-level engineering concepts in pneumatics and mechatronics. Pre-apprentices receive a comprehensive learning experience in the classroom with textbook and hybrid learning, then head off to the lab to apply their knowledge hands-on with IoT hardware and software systems. Upon completion of the program, students will receive a certificate of completion.

Classes are held at Festo’s Regional Service Center (RSC), a 47-acre state-of-the-art logistics and manufacturing plant that provides automation technology serving all of North America. The plant opened in 2015 and is among the 15 largest employers in Mason.

The RSC also serves as the home base for Festo’s award-winning Mechatronics Apprenticeship Program (MAP2) which first launched at the Festo Learning Center in 2016. In 2020, MAP2 earned the Best in Ohio Business Award in the Workforce Development Program category.

KTEC to Honor Festo Didactic as the 2022 Distinguish Partner

Festo Didatic is scheduled to be presented with KTEC’s 2022 Distinguished Partner Award at the annual KTEC Gala on Saturday, March 26, for the company’s dedication to education and support of KTEC.

The mission of Kenosha School of Technology Enhanced Curriculum (KTEC) is to engage learners of all types in an innovative and continually evolving learning environment, to prepare students for success through academic excellence by the use of 21st Century Skills, strategic partnerships, and technology integration to prepare for a global society.

The company is an important part of innovation for KTEC students. Festo and the school are working together to integrate bionics and mechatronics into the school’s STEM learning program for 6th–8th grade students.

Festo is also an important part of the design team for KTEC High School, which is slated to open this September. Festo is facilitating the development of the Automation and Robotics career pathway.

Engineering Hope for a Better World – A Note from NI

This post contains a challenge for us all. I know that many companies, perhaps most, have a corporate responsibility leader and participates in some beneficial activities beyond the merely self-serving gifts. NI (formerly National Instruments) has had a vision for the advancement of engineering and public good for as long as I’ve known it. Current CEO Eric Starkloff is building on the legacy of co-founder and retired CEO Jim Truchard leading by example.

I received this “Note from NI” the other day. It is powerful enough that I thought I’d share. Perhaps we can all gain some insights and spur our innovative nature from these ideas.

Engineering Hope for a Better World

In 2020 we made our mission clear: empower engineers to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges. And while we’ve always been quietly but diligently dedicated corporate citizens, we’re facing many challenges as a society, from climate change to racial and economic inequality. And the time to be bold is now. This is why we’ve launched Engineering Hope, our 2030 Corporate Impact Strategy.

Our aspirational 2030 impact goals and commitments outline how NI will put our company, people, and products to work to make a positive impact on society and our planet. Simply put, it outlines how we’ll drive the positive change we want to see in the world – engineering can, and should, play a pivotal role in addressing the biggest challenges we collectively face today. We designed our Impact Strategy to be iterative and to scale with our business and industry. Some are moonshot goals that will challenge us to think well beyond current paradigms. And all are informed by the priorities of our stakeholders, a thorough analysis of which issues are material to our business, and the realities we see in the marketplace. We’ll work diligently to achieve our goals by 2030 and will transparently report our progress each year. As our CEO Eric Starkloff says, “if we can send rockets into space, we can achieve Zero Waste.”

What We’ve Been Up To

We got to work right out of the gate in 2021. In the first quarter, we joined OpenRF to help tackle 5G ecosystem interoperability issues and partnered with MaxLinear to simplify validation of wideband power amplifiers. In alignment with our Engineering Hope 2030 Corporate Impact Strategy goals, we partnered with Project Lead the Way to increase access to STEM education, worked with the Texas Rocket Engineering Lab at the University of Texas to prepare students for future space flight, and collaborated with Code2College to help build equitable pathways to STEM careers. The mentoring and hands-on internship component of the program directly addresses systemic underrepresentation in STEM professions. A recent study that surveyed over 550 engineering and computer science students found a key driver of the gender pay gaps is associated with self-efficacy or a confidence gap. Researchers highlighted the importance of mentoring and internships to strengthen students’ self-assessments and provide stronger bridges to engineering jobs with higher pay. Programs like Code2College help students discover their potential and the limitless opportunities that exist in STEM fields.

Check out the links below for a few more details on what we worked on over the last few months:

  • We joined OpenRF and will chair the OpenRF Compliance Working Group to address interoperability issues facing the 5G ecosystem.
  • We worked with the Texas Rocket Engineering Lab at the University of Texas to prepare students for a new era of human spaceflight through hands-on projects in rocketry and aerospace.
  • We partnered with MaxLinear to simplify the validation of wideband power amplifiers for 5G networks.
  • We announced a 10-year strategy, Engineering Hope, aimed at advancing diversity, sustainability, and equity in engineering.
  • We partnered with Project Lead the Way to increase access to STEM education in underrepresented and underserved students in Central Texas.
  • We collaborated with Code2College on their work to develop a pipeline of diverse tech talent.

At NI, we believe Engineering Ambitiously and Engineering Hope go hand-in-hand. And our 2030 Corporate Impact Strategy goals reflect as much. Through our commitment to our Impact Strategy, we are putting our company, people, and products to work to positively impact our society and planet — a commitment we do not take lightly. We voluntarily set goals informed by the priorities of our stakeholders, that reflect the realities we see in the marketplace, and represent a thorough analysis of the issues material to our business. 

We are dedicated to achieving our goals by 2030 and will transparently report our progress each year. Through our partnerships with suppliers, customers, governments, industry, and non-governmental organizations, we’ll harness the power of NI’s operations philanthropy to focus on three pillars of impact:

  • Changing the faces of engineering. Building a diverse and inclusive workforce is the right thing to do for NI, our industry, and society. But the diversity of the engineering talent pipeline hasn’t changed much in the last 20 years. In fact, the global technology sector is projected to have a shortage of 4.3 million workers by 2030. Attracting more diverse people to our industry helps us keep up with this growth while providing more equitable access to high-paying jobs. We’ll work towards this vision by increasing our workforce diversity and supporting aspiring engineers through STEM education initiatives, expanded recruitment strategies, and talent acquisition and diversity leadership programs.
  • Building an equitable and thriving society. Over time, inequalities in our systems and institutions decrease the well-being of our entire society. We envision a thriving society with fewer economic, racial, and gender inequalities and greater wellbeing and prosperity for all. Our work will begin within NI by cultivating an equitable and thriving workforce through total rewards redesigns, wellbeing programs, and ongoing employee engagement initiatives. We’ll also advance diversity within our own supply chain, and by changing the faces of engineering, we’ll increase access to higher-paying technology.
  • Engineering a healthy planet. Healthy and biodiverse ecosystems are critical to human wellbeing. We envision a world where industries and governments work together to protect and repair ecosystems and stabilize our climate by mitigating rising temperatures. We’ll do our part to reach this vision by reducing the environmental impact of NI’s operations and products, and in doing so, reduce our footprint and help our customers do the same. Each year through 2030, we’ll discount or donate NI products to organizations developing green technology, will design 100% of our new buildings or remodels to LEED and WELL standards, reduce our footprint, and make circular design improvements in our product design, manufacturing, and packaging. And by 2030, we will achieve Zero Waste at NI-owned buildings.

Controlled Flying Birds and Workforce Development Highlight Festo Hannover Announcements

I remember the first trip I made to Festo in Germany many years ago. I thought, this is “just” a pneumatics company. What could be interesting about this trip? Then I witnessed what their R&D engineers did with pneumatics. And saw that the company if far deeper than “just” pneumatics.

Even though we could not experience in the flesh, so to speak, this year’s press conference and demonstrations did not disappoint. The company discusses financial results, strategy, general information, an application – assembly of insulin injection pen, workforce issues, and the always delightful demonstration of pneumatic/electronic far-out thinking with this year being a bionic swift (bird).

Most companies I work with have an education and training component. Festo has a division that is dedicated to education from children to adults. Check out the Festo Didactic information below. Maybe you can purchase a bionic bird education kit for your local school’s science and technology program (see information below). I’m living in a new community, but I’m looking for local contacts to help out.

Financial years 2020/2021

Festo’s results were stable despite the pandemic. The Festo Group had to cope with a 7.5% decline in turnover in the 2020 financial year due to the pandemic. Turnover was 2.84 billion euros (previous year 3.07 billion euros). Overall, however, thanks to forward-looking cost-cutting measures and employment protection, the operating result in 2020 was slightly higher than in the previous year.

“This has enabled us to guide our workforce safely through the crisis year and to create a good basis for being ready for the global economy to pick up again. At the same time, it gives us the financial freedom to invest in our future now as well,” said the Chairman of the Management Board, Dipl.-Ing. Dr. h.c. Oliver Jung.

As in the previous year, the company’s R&D ratio was 8% of turnover. 

For 2021, the company expects a catch-up year. “We started the year well, with strong growth in the first quarter. Nevertheless, the end of the pandemic cannot yet be estimated. We are therefore continuing our savings course. At the same time, we continue to invest in our growth and innovation strategy,” Jung affirmed.

Strategy 2025+

Digitalisation and AI determine the product roadmap with smart and intelligent products as enablers for energy efficiency and sustainability in customer solutions.

Festo is focusing on the capability shift upgrading employees’ skills in the digital transformation.

The need for home schooling and virtual training (Digital Education) is growing rapidly in the pandemic. In the lockdown, Festo Didactic successfully launched its new digital learning platform, Festo LX, for technical education and provided a free homeschooling version for mechatronics courses in schools.  

The LifeTech business segment with medical technology and laboratory automation is experiencing a real boom with growth rates of over 100%. Festo is continuously expanding its Technical Engineering Center for LifeTech in Boston, which opened in 2018 and is one of the world’s most important development locations for life science, in order to further develop this promising growth market.

Festo’s products make an important contribution to the fight against COVID 19. In particular, laboratory automation enables high throughput in COVID 19 tests.  Automation is also key in vaccine development and production.

Sustainability needs automation and education

“As a company and society, we have to manage the balancing act in the pandemic of simultaneously finding ways out of the crisis and focusing our future activities on sustainability. Automation and technical education are a key to this. We also have a high social responsibility for sustainable development here,” said Jung. The goal is to gradually develop production in the direction of a circular economy.

“At Festo, we are convinced that pneumatics in particular offers massive advantages over electrics in many areas, and that no other technology can match it. We are currently developing this further in the direction of smart and digital pneumatics. There is still a lot of potential here,” confirmed Jung.

In 2020, Festo has also made great progress internally in climate protection and thus towards its climate target of saving at least 30% CO2 by 2025 (Scope 1 and 2).

Festo has the greatest leverage for climate protection with its customers, through the appropriate product selection of pneumatics and electrics (Scope 3). This is because around 90% of CO2 emissions are generated during product operation and only around 10% during production. Smart products and services, digitalization and AI are giving new impetus to energy efficiency on the way to CO2-neutral production.

As a family-owned company, Festo thinks and acts responsibly and with a long-term perspective. Festo stands for clear values, utmost quality and customer-oriented innovation. It has set standards in industrial automation technology and technical education ever since its establishment, thereby making a contribution to sustainable development of the environment, the economy and society.

Festo is advancing digitalisation in all its corporate divisions. Festo is leading its customers and employees into the digital future. To this end, the company is developing new future-oriented concepts founded on the triad of innovative and energy-efficient technologies, intuitive human-machine collaboration, and education and further training.

Productivity – Festo’s core competency

Innovation for the best possible productivity, a global presence and close, long-term partnerships with its customers are the hallmarks of Festo. In the 1950s, Festo became the first company in Europe to use compressed air as a drive medium in automation. The company now offers over 30,000 products and system solutions for pneumatic and electrical automation technology which, thanks to a large variety of modular systems, can be tailored to specific customer applications in many different factory and process automation industry segments.

Added value through digitalisation
Smart products, connectivity, the mining and interpretation of data, including via the cloud, and dashboards for visualisation, already offer added value for customers. Products like the energy efficiency module E2M, IO-Link-capable components, the CPX-IOT gateway or interfaces like OPC-UA contribute to this process. Another basic requirement for successful and consistent digitalisation is mechanical, electrical and intelligent connectivity through software solutions, enabling all customers to find their bearings quickly and intuitively. 

Festo is promoting this with an open automation architecture and a large product portfolio made up of axes, motors and controllers. Standardised software tools are also being developed: configurators for smart engineering, the Festo Automation Suite for easy commissioning and the digital maintenance manager Smartenance for reliable operation. Digitalised pneumatics such as the Festo Motion Terminal VTEM makes pneumatics more flexible than ever before. The reason: apps define the function, the hardware remains the same.

In addition, data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence are shaping the agile product development of the future. Since 2018, the competence in the field of AI has been strongly expanded. The Festo AX (Festo Automation Experience) software platform is an AI-based software solution that allows production processes to be improved, e.g. with preventive maintenance of assets and machines, monitoring of quality in production or energy consumption.

With AI-based solutions for operations and maintenance processes, the overall equipment efficiency (OEE) of customers is to be improved.

Qualification in the digital transformation

As a leading provider of technical education and training, Festo Didactic is responding to current megatrends such as digitalisation and the energy transition. Because these trends are changing industry and production processes. Festo Didactic supports its customers with learning solutions and supports them to ensure the employability and productivity of employees and companies.

Festo Didactic offers a comprehensive range of learning solutions. Learners acquire technology knowledge and soft skills both in team-oriented and practical training on physical learning systems with industrial components, but also location- and time-independent through digital online learning opportunities. The new digital learning portal Festo Learning Experience (Festo LX) creates individual learning experiences for learners and teachers.

The fast way to a safe insulin pen

Syntegon’s assembly system for medical technology with the Festo automation platform 

Diabetes is on the rise worldwide with around 10 million people being diagnosed with the disease every year. This pushes up the demand for insulin pens for self-injection. Syntegon’s Danish subsidiary has developed an automated system for assembling these pens using the Festo automation platform.

“I have a dream,” says Michael Andersen, Sales Director of Syntegon Technology Sandved in Denmark. “I have a dream of our machines doing on-the-fly format changes. That would be the culmination of our philosophy of flexibility and agility that we strive for in our company,” adds the automation expert.

Flexibility and agility

“By using the Festo automation platform, which includes the servo press kit, we are already very close to making this dream come true,” says Andersen. In fact, Festo’s servo press kit YJKP – a preconfigured modular system consisting of software, controllers and standard electrical drives – can be easily integrated in the plant and offers a high degree of flexibility thanks to the preinstalled software. This means that the modular press system with servo drive for electric pressing and joining up to 17 kN is ready for immediate use and, compared to similar solutions on the market, is both intuitively to parameterize and cost-effective.

“We have installed more than a 100 servo press kits in the automated assembly lines for insulin pens,” says Ulrik Keldke, Head of Syntegon’s engineering department in Sandved. The precisely adjustable pressing and joining forces ensure consistent quality and low reject rates. “What we particularly like about the Festo servo press kit is that it’s quick and easy to commission, and the machine operators don’t need to be trained to use it,” explains chief engineer Keldke.

Quality and safety

“Automating the assembly line is a prerequisite for meeting the requirements for the end product: the insulin pens must be safe and user-friendly,” says Andersen. The pens must not break when used by the patients, as that would put them at risk. The Servo Press Kit keeps the tension and pressure constant. “The glass of the syringes should never be subjected to irregular pressure as they would break,” Keldke says. The automated systems ensure that the insulin pens are always in order and can deliver the exact amount of insulin.

Depending on the machine type, Syntegon’s assembly lines produce up to 300 pens per minute. The degree of automation is scalable according to requirements and can also be adapted at a later date. The machine concepts are based either on a rotary table for low to medium outputs or on a linear transport system for high outputs. The system can be expanded with automatic feeders and stations to increase output and the degree of automation.

Consistency and reliability

Syntegon Technology, formerly Bosch Packaging Technology, sees itself as a provider of integrated solutions. The assembly line for insulin pens can be expanded into a complete line with other systems from the company. Pharmaceutical manufacturers can thus be provided with machines for all process steps, from filling, capping, assembly, testing, to labelling and packaging – preconfigured and from a single source.

The machine control system is based on electrical and pneumatic components and modules from the Festo automation platform. This ensures a consistency of supply since Festo products are available worldwide and offer open interfaces to higher-level controllers. The CPX-E-CEC module from Festo establishes the connection to the process control level, allowing it to be used with Profinet or, for other customers in Europe, with EtherCat. Especially for North American customers, however, the system could also be supplied with an Ethernet/IP module.

Bionic Swift: A Bionically Inspired Robotic Bird

So, the cool demonstration this year was the Bionic Swift. This year’s engineering innovation has been incorporated into the “Bionics4Education” program. Its target market is high school education and also industrial training. 

It is one of the oldest dreams of mankind: flying like a bird. The lift and propulsion of birds have been ingeniously achieved by nature. Birds measure, control and regulate their movements continuously and completely autonomously. The inspiration for the development of the Bionic Swift educational kit came from the Bionic Learning Network, a research association with universities, institutes and development companies whose goal is to produce novel technology carriers through the application of bionics. In 2020, the BionicSwift was presented to the public for the first time. Festo Didactic wants to bring the world of bionics together with the education sector in order to promote working in interdisciplinary project teams as well as problem-oriented learning and creativity at schools.

The Bionic Swift is a robotic bird inspired by the bird world. Festo based its development on the natural model of the swallow. With the experimental set, scientific and technical correlations as well as the fascination of bird flight and the topics of lightweight construction, energy efficiency and aerodynamics can be impressively conveyed in STEAM lessons using a project-based approach.

The mechanisms of action of the flap of the wings can be explored in a playful way by students in class. Weighing less than 45 grams, the ultra-light flying object Bionic Swift shows particularly agile flight behaviour. Due to its extreme manoeuvrability, even tight turns can be realised. The Bionic Swift experimental set is recommended for up to three learners and from the age of 15. 

The references to biology and technology that can be taught in STEAM lessons or at extracurricular learning venues are numerous and reach from the structure of tubular bones to wing take-off and landing to the basics of movements in the air. This allows teachers to teach technical learning content via a new, cross-curricular educational learning path. Accompanying teaching material, as well as the assembly manual, can be downloaded free of charge from our website

Book Shows The Many Reasons Students Should Consider Smart Manufacturing Career

I’ve been acquainted with Mike Nager for many years through business. We ran into each other a few years ago when he had switched from product management to leading the education team for an automation supplier.

He sent a copy of a book he’s just published for Kindle, The Smart Student’s Guide To Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0. It’s a subject I’m deeply interested in, so I checked it out.

I rate this book highly because the author accomplishes what he set out to do–“This book will introduce you to exciting career opportunities that smart manufacturing provides today.”

He continues, “Manufacturing output, which is essentially the amount of goods made in America, rises every year. The U.S. now produces more products than at any other time in history. Smart Manufacturing, also referred to as Industry 4.0, is starting to shake up the previous worldwide business model of off-shoring manufacturing operations to areas with low labor rates by making labor rates less relevant. You have an opportunity to join the industry as it reinvents itself.”

It reminds me of books given to me to read when I was in high school to entice me into an engineering career. It is understandably basic, but it is also inclusive. There is so much more to manufacturing and engineering than when I was making that decision. And Nager covers all the facets from highly educated process engineers to skilled technicians. And how to get there.

Half of the book is devoted to persuading students about the importance of manufacturing–both to the country’s defense and to the economic health of the area and country. Becoming an important part of manufacturing is not only a great career for the student, it also enables the student to be a contributing member of society. The remaining part discusses the wide variety of engineering and technical areas a student could choose from according to their interests and talents.

Nager covers technologies involved including hardware products and software concluding with a review of the so-called “soft skills” such as leadership that are essential to success no matter what the career path.

Get this book, order many. Pass them along to every junior high and high school student you know who could even remotely be interested in a manufacturing career.

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